Ethan Mann scored the only goal in a tight non-conference battle between the University School boys hockey team and Onalaska played Friday, February 9th at the Omni Center in Onalaska.
Patrick Kelly, USM’s goaltender, turned aside all 23 of the Hilltoppers shots to earn the shutout. At the other end of the ice, Hayes Weiner, Onalaska’s goalie, stopped 26 of the 27 shots that the Wildcats put on net.
As is often case when these two teams have their annual late-season meeting, the action moved back and forth, giving the fans who were watching plenty of good hockey plays to enjoy. As the game remained scoreless until late in the second period, those fans were treated to the added excitement of wondering who would eventually score.
USM’s captain, Kylar Fenton commented on the game, “Onalaska had a good team but we dominated their end of the ice and put away one which was all we needed. We got shots on net and put as much pressure on them as we could. The end result was our 20th victory, and it feels good.”
It was Fenton who got USM’s goal scoring play started. He got a loose puck in center ice and skated it into the Onalaska zone. As he skated along the right mid-boards, Fenton dropped a pass back to Mann who was trailing. Mann turned and passed the puck to Tyler Herzberg at the blue line. Herzberg teed up a shot and fired it at Weiner. The puck hit a defenseman’s stick as it came in and bounced to the left. Mann had moved toward the net. He swiftly zipped around the defenseman, got the loose puck and snapped it into the net at 14:49 of the second period.
The Hilltoppers tried valiantly to even the score in the game’s final period. They outshot their visitors 13-11 in the frame, but were unable to get one into the USM net. Consequently, the Wildcats departed with their 20th win.
The game concluded the regular season for Onalaska. The Hilltoppers ended with a fine 18-6 record. They are seeded at number 1 in their Sectional and face the winner of the opening playoff game between Tomah and the Deforest co-op. Onalaska will host the game at the Omni Center at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 15th.
USM is now 20-3. The Wildcats conclude their regular season play with a non-conference game against Sun Prairie at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 10th in Sun Prairie.